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Jon, Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 3627
Experience:  Appliance Service Technician with 10+ years experience.
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I bought a Whirlpool refrigerator; top door w/bottom drawer

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I bought a Whirlpool refrigerator; top door w/bottom drawer freezer unit in 2009. My question is; There is a build-up on the back of the freezer unit which also closes the open slots located farther down the back wall. We had changed the freezer temperature to a colder setting #4 not realizing that the temperature settings for both the refrigerator and freezer units were to be kept at the same temperature; so the manual states. When Sears representative brought in the refrigerator they had both setting at #3. We cleaned off the frost and cleared the open slots; left the freezer off for an hour then reset the temperature to #3. Now, we have set both units at #3 and still the back of the freezer unit has an ice build-up on the back wall again. Is the issue we can resolve or do we have to call a tech for maintenance?

Jon Grella : Hello
Jon Grella : My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am an authorized whirlpool service tech and I can help you today
Jon Grella : You are experiencing a defrost failure. Which means the cool air that is made in the bottom section of the freezer area is getting to cold. Amd is not defrosting. Which then leads to the build up of first and ice on the bck wall. Which will eventually clog the cold air to just the freezer area. And it will not allow the fan that usually runs in the back of the freezer section to spread the air to the ref section up top.
Jon Grella : How long has it been like this?
Jon Grella : And how old is your ref?

About 3 years, we just noticed this about a couple of weeks ago.

Jon Grella : Ok. There are two things to do here
Jon Grella : The quick and easy fix and the more involved right way to fix it.
Jon Grella : I will explain both.
Jon Grella : Let me know when you are ready? It will be a long description and a lot of writing.
Jon Grella : Just bear with me. But let me know when you are ready.

I am waiting as you write.


Jon Grella : Ok. Good. Thanks
Jon Grella : The quick and easy fix.
Jon Grella : And only to be used if youhave alternative means to cool the food. Like another ref.
Jon Grella : First remove the food from both ref and freezer cabinets. Then unplug the machine and leave both doors open for atmleast 24 -36 hours. Also put some towels down in both the ref and freezer cabinets and along the outside. This will allow the machine to defrost manually.
Jon Grella : Then after about 36 hours plug the machine back in and put all your food back and set both ref and freezer temps to #3 settings. And let it sit for about 24 hours with out changing any temps. If the machine maintains the temps and doesn't give ou any frost build up in the back portion of the freezer again after about 1 week. Then t
Jon Grella : Sorry
Jon Grella : Then you are good to go. And all that happened was a short in the defrost timer.
Jon Grella : The ore involved way to fix this
Jon Grella : Remove the food from the freezer cabinet. Then remove the door. And baskets. Then remoe the screws holding on the back cover to the freezer. On the inside. And pull off the back evaporator cover. And behind there you will see all the frost built up. You will have to takne notice if the fan is running. That is the fan that spreads the cold air to the ref section above. If it is not running but is jammed with ice build up that is ok. Just make sure after we defrost the machine that it continues to run. If the fan is not running and is not jammed with the ice build up we may have to replace the fan and that could be the whole problem.
Jon Grella : Next turn the machine off and unplug it again.
Jon Grella : Then get a hair dryer and defrost the ice and frost build up on the evaporator coils. It will take about a half hour depending on how much frost and ice is built up there. Again put some towels down to catch the water.
Jon Grella : After defrosting the freezer area and the coils if you have a meter with continuity chck check the wires to the heater. Ther eshould be a black Carlos heater that goes along the bottom of the evaporator coils. It looks like a black bar. Then has wires goin up each side of the evaporator. Remove the wires from each connector on the left and right and check with continuity of the heater. If their is continuity and there usually is, these heater almost never fail, then you are good. But if no continuity then you need to replace the heater.
Jon Grella : After checking the heater just put everything back together and let the machine run as normal like mention above. Set the machine to 3 in both cabinets and let it run for about a week. If the problem and first comes back them we know oy have a problem with the defrost system.
Jon Grella : And most likely have to change the defrost timer or control computer depending on the model of the machine and the defrost thermostat.
Jon Grella : But we will cross that bridge when we come to it. If we need to come to it. But like I also said above, this is common for these machines and even more so if you have power surges often. The surges will short out the timer or control in the machine and it wiill skip a defrost cycle here and there. But it will fix itself after manually defrosting the machine like I told you to do.
Jon Grella : So that is why I tell you to defrost it then wait about a week. Because if it doesn't come back again you don't need to waste your money on the cost of the parts.
Jon Grella : I know I have thrown a lot of info at you all at once so please get back to me here if you have any questions and I will help you more.
Jon Grella : If not, please remember to rate my performance below with at least a got the job done rating so that I can get credit for helping you. And if you need to come back here to sk more questions after rating me you can do so. And I will help you more for no additional charge.
Jon Grella : Thanks.

We do have another refrigerator in the garage so OK! OK! We can't do the more complex issue so we will try the removal of the food and turning off the refrigerator and see if this solves the issue. If this doesn't work then I guess we will have to call out a tech. Thank you!

OK! Thanks again.

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Thank you for the positive rating and feedback. It is greatly appreciated.

Should you need any more help please get back to me here and I will help you more.

Thanks again.